Third Annual "The Best"

Design

Restaurant design idea I’ve stolen
We purchased a few Electrolux Infared Panini Grills to speed up service in our customized deli stations located in residential dining facilities. We had struggled with speed of service with traditional panini presses.
—David Friend, director of dining services, West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va.

Recent equipment innovation I’ve seen
Since we do a lot of tableside cooking, the eco-friendly induction cooking system is fantastic. It allows instant control of cooking energy similar to gas burners, and because induction heats the cooking vessel itself, the possibility of burn injury is significantly less than with other methods.
—Robert Darrah, director of dining services, Legacy Retirement Communities, Lincoln, Neb.

Twist on a “traditional” cafeteria space I’ve seen
Brevard Public Schools’ Galley Grill. This was a hodgepodge outdoor area that was renovated and turned into a ship with two serving lines. The school used to be a middle school that served 800 students and it was turned into a high school that served 2,500 students. They only had two serving lines, so they needed additional points of service and the Galley Grill did that.
—Dawn Houser, director of nutrition services, Collier County Public Schools, Naples, Fla.

The Best, KU, Garden use of small space I’ve seen
We have a rooftop herb garden tucked away in a corner between some of the heating and cooling equipment. This area has always been locked away and was lost space. We now grow tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. While the roofing equipment utilizes a great deal of the square footage, it also provides much-needed shade to the more delicate herbs. We have 14 pickle buckets, three whiskey barrels and three earth boxes. This provides herbs for our catering operation and the full-service lunch restaurant during the summer months.
—Janna Traver, executive chef/assistant director for KU Dining Services, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
health food medicine stethoscope

For the last two years, Chris Studtmann has jockeyed between Northwestern University’s residential dining halls and athletic training tables in his role of executive chef, trying to meet the health and food preferences of both sides. Now, his team is taking best practices developed for the sports teams to the 20,000-plus student population, working with dietitians from the school’s contract company to better sync healthy menu choices with lifestyle needs.

Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report shows younger consumers are especially tuned in to functional foods that...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

Ideas and Innovation
reusable coffee cup thermos

We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

Menu Development
quinoa bowl

In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

But are those stated preferences translating on an operational level? There, the answer is less clear. Baby...

FSD Resources